Why Advertisement is killing you - the era of Words of Mouth
Do you consider yourself innovative? When it comes to marketing, do you stick with the traditional methods or look for new trends? Here is why you should give up advertisement and re-position your budget and efforts.
The age of traditional marketing
For decades the best way to promote a product has been mass advertisement. Getting your product in magazines and newspapers was the safest way to reach your audience.
What better solution to make sure people knew you than having a huge banner on the bus, a 30 seconds ad on TV or a spot on the radio?
The main issue with traditional advertisement is the clear lack of result tracking. How do you calculate precise ROI (Return On Investment) when you can't even tell what motivated a customer to purchase from you?
Several companies have tried to offer solutions for marketers to track more efficiently their advertisement results. Most have failed. People are not keen to change and are usually scared of novelty. A tool that would prove your investment misplaced would be a threat to your marketing system.
The age of the internet
Since late 90s, internet changed the game. Instead of using mass advertisement you can now target more and more precisely your own specific market.
Even better, you can now track your results, identify your best campaigns and calculate your return on investment.
The age of internet has completely changed the way marketers handle promotion. New jobs have emerged (learn more about the role of a Social Media Manager) and new strategies are created. Things move much faster but also allow more creativity.
But are we still in this age?
The age of advertisement is over
Do you know how many ads you have been exposed to in the past 24 hours?
"We've gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today."
Jay Walker-Smith, Yankelovich Consumer Research
What is your first reaction when seeing those figures? How many of those 5,000 ads you have been exposed to can you remember? How many of them will influence your purchasing habits? How many did you actually pay attention to?
The problem with the advertisement age is that it requires one specific resource: people's attention. Once we run out of this resource, you can do as much advertisement as you wish, you won't be able to reach people anymore.
As I mentioned earlier, internet advertising is beautiful in the sense that it enables extreme targeting and results tracking. Unfortunately, even though targeted ads are way more profitable than mass advertisement, if your target is not willing to listen to your message, there is very little you can do.
Think about it: what is the only effective message, the only effective channel?
Let's talk about Words of Mouth.
The age of new marketers
Marketers are endangered. And like all species, only the ones that evolve will survive.
A few years ago, marketing was all about finding the right message and shouting it as loud as budget would permit.
With the new rules we've seen earlier, marketers have to adapt quickly and find their rightful place.
A hundred years ago, when you would visit a local store you would hardly have two similar products. Now, when you visit your megastore, you have tens of variations of a same product - how to choose?
If I have been purchasing the same cereals for the past 10 years, what could suddenly make me consider buying a different brand?
Do you believe I would suddenly change my habits because I have seen an ad in a magazine? Certainly not.
Words of Mouth.
The only thing that could potentially make me look at another brand (beside a huge discount - but even then, you would have to catch my attention first to inform me about the promotion) would be a friend recommending it. Have you ever considered the power of network marketing?
Encouraging Words of Mouth
If you can't access your prospects with traditional ads, what remains available?
If they would not talk about your advertisement, let them talk about your product! Make your product so exceptional that the people who do care will try it, love it and share it around!
How to achieve that?
Marketers are no longer "promoters".
Marketing used to be a synonym of "advertising": things have changed. Your marketing team needs to be involved at each level of the product development process.
It doesn't matter if your advertising campaign is exceptional: your product must be exceptional.
Luckily, since very early in my career, I have worked in companies that included marketing as part of the product development. That is the perfect opportunity for taking risks, for making your product unique and remarkable. If you achieve that, if you create a true innovation, you should make sure you know about the innovation diffusion model.
The magic strategy
Obviously, there is no such thing as a magic strategy that would help you spreading the word instantly.
If you have checked the Innovation Diffusion Model, you know now that to be able to reach a large audience you should start by focusing on a very limited segment: those that are willing to listen to you.
You have created a very special and unique product but most people will just not have time or not care about you promoting it.
A few people only are actively looking for new products such as yours. Find them and tell them!
That is the only time advertising will really be efficient: find out who are those early adopters that will be willing to try your product. Once you know who they are, discover the best way to reach them and let them know about your product.
Make them love it.
Once they adopt it - wait.
Now the real process of viral marketing starts - instead of costly and ineffective advertising, you have just built a strong team of believers, of ambassadors that will spread the word around for you!
And what works best to convince you buying something? An ad in a magazine or a suggestion from an expert friend?
To go further exploring the concept of "being remarkable" I invite you to read the excellent "The Purple Cow" from Seth Godin and start making the right choices of time & money investment.
Tags: words of mouth network marketing advertisement ad advert